Environmental analysis of the production of champagne cork stoppers

Jesús Rives, Ivan Fernández-Rodríguez, Joan Rieradevall, Xavier Gabarrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Champagne cork stoppers are a product made basically from cork, a natural and renewable resource extracted from cork oak forests in western Mediterranean regions. Each stopper is made up of an agglomerated cork body and two natural cork discs. In 2009, 60% of the world's champagne cork stoppers were produced in Catalonia, due to the importance of cava, champagne and other sparkling wines in neighbouring areas. The aim of this research was to provide environmental reference data on champagne cork stoppers production, and identify the industrial stages and operations that made the greatest impact. This research was carried out using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology, and five of the most representative producers were analysed. The system considered all the processes involved in production after the forest management stage and one million champagne cork stoppers were taken as a functional unit (FU). Results showed that 53,886 kg of CO 2 eq. were emitted to produce the FU. It was observed that the champagne cork stopper manufacture stage represented between 57 and 67% of the environmental impact, depending on the category. Specifically, between 25 and 47% of the environmental impacts associated with this stage were caused by the body agglomeration operation, and between 21 and 29% were caused by the gluing of discs. On the other hand, some of the production stages such as the transport of raw cork and intermediate products, cork slab preparation or end of life stages represented a very small part of the total environmental impact of the product, less than 2%. Furthermore, it was observed that a champagne cork stopper produced by the most impacting company presented a higher impact, between 10 and 27% above the sector average, depending on the impact category; while the least impacting company presented between 12 and 32% less impact. These differences indicate that some companies can improve their production by adopting technology and production practices that some of their competitors have already put in place. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Champagne cork stopper
  • Cork agglomerate
  • Environmental impact
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Mediterranean
  • Natural cork disc

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